Will technology save jobs or replace them?

by HRD29 Nov 2017
HRD interviews Benjamin Pring, Director, Centre for the Future of Work, Cognizant, and Co-author of “What to Do When Machines Do Everything: How to Get Ahead in a World of AI, Algorithms, Bots, and Big Data”.

Why will technology save jobs rather than replace them?

With all the talk around automation and robotics changing the way we’ll work in the future, it is important to take stock and understand that working with somebody who has great digital tools on hand is always preferable. Enhanced job capabilities through technology such as algorithms, data analytics and mobile technology will enhance a person’s ability to work, making them more valuable to organisations.

The very core of enhancement is the idea that nearly every individual’s abilities can be improved by technology. In this way, enhanced jobs are about improving human work, not replacing it. Technologies will serve to increase efficiencies, provide greater accuracies, and lead to greater productivity for employees.

Technology will give people the freedom to deprioritise tedious or repetitive tasks to focus on the big picture, creative thinking and customer service ― allowing organisations to be truly innovative.

What role does retraining have in enhancing existing employee talent?

There will be some challenges that come with enhanced jobs. However, these can be easily mitigated through organisation-wide upskilling and retraining. These retraining strategies will ensure that existing employee talents are enhanced with the addition of technology.

For businesses, this means they will be able to retrain employees on topics such as leadership skills, reasoning and interpreting with logic, applying judgement, and being creative ― all traditional human skills that can be enhanced through technology.

It is a fair assumption to say that upskilling and retraining will become the cornerstone of the enhanced job. This is because it is significantly more effective to integrate technology into organisational processes rather than replacing entire workforces with robots.

What role does change management have in managing the rise of automation?

With automation becoming increasingly prevalent across industries, change management will become vital to IT leaders. Whilst many organisations have taken some steps to tackle change management, more needs to be done to streamline change management procedures.

In simple terms, change management deals with the management of people in the face of change ― in this case, automation. As managing change is one of the toughest tasks for enterprise organisations to deal with, there needs to be a clear plan of action to ensure that employees are ready for automation rather than be confronted abruptly by new technology.

If businesses fail to embrace adequate change management practices, there will be far-reaching consequences that will prevent businesses from meeting their service commitments to customers.


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